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U.S. power use to rise in 2021 as governments ease lockdowns -EIA

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May 11 (Reuters) - U.S. power consumption will rise 2.2% this year as state and local governments ease coronavirus lockdowns, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO) on Tuesday.

The EIA projected power demand will rise to 3,887 billion kilowatt hours in 2021 and 3,925 billion kWh in 2022 from a coronavirus-depressed 11-year low of 3,802 billion kWh in 2020.

That compares with an all-time high of 4,003 billion kWh in 2018.

The EIA projected 2021 power sales would rise to 1,504 billion kWh for residential consumers, which would be a record as continuing lockdowns cause more people to work from home, 1,293 billion kWh to commercial customers and 950 billion kWh to industrials.

That compares with all-time highs of 1,469 billion kWh in 2018 for residential consumers, 1,382 billion kWh in 2018 for commercial customers and 1,064 billion kWh in 2000 for industrials.

The EIA said the share of natural gas-fueled power generation will slide from 39% in 2020 to 35% in 2021 and 2022 as gas prices increase, while coal's share will rise from 20% in 2020 to 24% in 2021 before slipping to 23% in 2022.

The percentage of nuclear generation will ease from 21% in 2020 to 20% in 2021 and 19% in 2022, while renewables will rise from 20% in 2020 to 21% in 2021 and 23% in 2022.

The EIA also projected 2021 natural gas sales would rise to 13.16 billion cubic feet per day for residential consumers, 9.14 bcfd to commercial customers and 23.35 bcfd for industrials, but fall to 28.85 bcfd for power generation.

That compares with all-time highs of 14.36 bcfd in 1996 for residential consumers, 9.63 bcfd in 2018 for commercial customers, 23.80 bcfd in 1973 for industrials and 31.74 bcfd in 2020 for power generation.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Marguerita Choy)